Oscar season is set to begin very soon, but for now we’re still stuck in the middling weeks of September. That’s not to say that the movies coming out this week look bad, but there’s just not a ton to get excited about. This time around we’ve got trolls living in boxes and Denzel serving his revenge cold.
Just remember, I'm not reviewing these movies, but rather predicting where they'll end up on the Tomatometer. Let's take a look at what This Rotten Week has to offer.
Rotten Watch Prediction
See what I’m talking about in the trailer for The Equalizer below:
One of my favorite quasi-guilty pleasure movies is Man of Fire, Denzel Washington’s systematic and brutal takedown of a Mexican kidnapping ring as he looks for a girl he was meant to protect. Washington’s stoic and tortured character finding new and creative ways to extract information with emotionless efficiency was great. This looks like a lot of the same thing, which is a good thing. In Ridley Scott’s movie he took down the Mexican baddies "piece by piece." Here it’s the Russians "brick by brick." Whatever way he decides to handle his idioms and killing is fine by me. I am fan of these Denzel roles.
That the movie is handled and directed by Antoine Fuqua doesn’t necessarily guarantee its critical acclaim, but the guy does have a solid action/drama under his belt with Training Day. The rest of his resume reads pretty average with flicks like Olympus Has Fallen (48%) and Shooter (48%). They’re entertaining enough films, heavy on the action, light on pretty much everything else. This latest looks darker, more gripping and reliant on Denzel’s prowess and presence. That’s definitely a good thing, as Washington is more than capable of carrying a film completely on his own. If he’s given some weapons, a mission and a sense of eye-for-an-eye justice then all the better. That’s what we are looking for anyway.
Rotten Watch Prediction
The Boxtrolls is a stop-motion feature from Laika, the animation company that also brought Coraline (90%) and ParaNorman (87%). Often times with animated films I’m more inclined to look at the production studio than the individual players involved with the film. This isn’t necessarily mutually exclusive of course, but typically animation studios have a vision and a track record that can be informative in telling if a flick will be a hit with critics. Laika’s short history is strong and early reviews are generally positive. I don’t think The Boxtolls reaches the lofty heights of the first two movies. But it’ll finish positive for sure.
What may hold it back, and a theme of some of the negative reviews, is just how weird it is conceptually. This film seems to have gone off the reservation in the eyes of some critics, and if anything keeps the score down, it might be that. But not for me. Animals adapt. We have a lot of junk lying around. Why wouldn’t something just live in a box and tinker with our stuff? It just seems reasonable.
Which of my estimates do you think will be more accurate?
Last week was kind of a rough one, all things considered. I thought I’d see a little more movement from some of these films over the course of the week, but it just didn’t happen. First off, The Maze Runner (Predicted: 49% Actual: 63%) ended up just a few points out of range. Our own Sean O’Connell liked the movie for the most part, though he did give a hat tip to the idea that the teen lit turn movie genre is getting a little muddier. There are just a million pieces to keep track of now.
Meanwhile, This is Where I Leave You (Predicted: 48% Actual: 45%) was right on point. I was concerned the film wouldn’t be able to hold up under the weight of its enormous cast and this seems to be a theme of many reviews. Critics seem the think the film just tried to cram too many characters and story lines onto the screen all at once and the film suffered. Granted, it didn’t finish in the dumpster, but considering the star power and source material this was a disappointment.
Well, I didn’t trust Liam Neeson’s particular set of skills and it cost me with A Walk Among the Tombstones (Predicted: 40% Actual: 65%). I’m not pissed about the miss, mostly because I root for Neeson and he’s done it again. This film appears to have taken Neeson’s type-casting as a hardened, no holds barred investigator and worked it into a tight and smart thriller. Prepare yourself to see my man Liam doing this kind of thing until the end of days.
And finally Tusk (Predicted: 55% Actual: 39%) dropped over the course of the week. Sean O’Connell called the film "bizarre" and then struggled to determine if it was bizarre-good or bizarre-bad. He eventually lands on the good side, but it isn’t without deliberation, and it isn’t by much. Overall, critics we nonplussed by the Kevin Smith horror comedy, and I missed the mark by a few points too low.
Next time around it’s Annabelle, girls gone and getting left behind. It’s going to be a Rotten Week!